UPDATE: ‘In Pursuit with John Walsh’ Fugitive John Blauvelt Arrested In Oregon
Investigators said John Blauvelt, 33, who was AWOL from the Army, was on the run for six years after allegedly killing his wife. U.S. Marshals said that during the arrest, Blauvelt was going by the name "Ben Klein".
The United States Marshals Service has confirmed that former In Pursuit with John Walsh fugitive John Blauvelt was taken into custody on July 20, 2022, and is now behind bars in Medford, Oregon.
He was on the run after allegedly killing his estranged wife, Catherine "Cati" Blauvelt, who was found stabbed to death in October 2016 in Simpsonville, South Carolina.
Blauvelt is facing charges for murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime, according the U.S. Marshal’s press release. The release added, "Blauvelt, who worked as a U.S. Army recruiter in Greenville County at the time of the murder, but was classified by the Army as a deserter shortly thereafter, fled the area just after the murder with his 17-year-old girlfriend Hannah Thompson, of Fountain Inn."
Blauvelt and Thompson, according to the Marshals, were tracked through many states including: Alabama, Texas, and California. Thompson was found safe in December 2016 and reunited with her family, the release added. It was during this recovery when authorities learned the teen and Blauvelt were homeless and living in Oregon. Since that time, deputies worked to track down every lead possible in Oregon.
Eventually, the U.S. Marshals said they carefully assembled a "dedicated and complex case investigative team." The group was committed to finding Blauvelt.
Heather Walker-Wright, Assistant Director of the U.S. Marshals Service Investigative Operations Division said, “I want to commend the investigators and Deputy U.S. Marshals in South Carolina, Oregon and here at headquarters, as well as our partner agencies, who worked so tirelessly to get John Blauvelt into custody.”
Acting U.S. Marshal for the District of South Carolina Karen Thomas added, “The U.S. Marshals Service dedication to duty, pursuit of justice, and relentless team effort across the nation led to the capture of a violent fugitive."
Blauvelt is currently behind bars at the Jackson County Jail in Oregon and is awaiting extradition to South Carolina where he will face formal charges.
ORIGINAL POST 03/12/2019
John Blauvelt, Accused Of Killing His Wife, Fled & Is AWOL From The Army
SIMPSONVILLE, SC — Cati Boytner grew up with her loving family in South Carolina, raised by her single mom. Known best for being an overall good kid academically who loved animals, she was youngest of two.
Patricia Priver, Boytner’s mom, tells In Pursuit With John Walsh, “Cati enjoyed life, she had a heart of gold, she would do anything for anybody. She’d befriend a cricket if [she] could. I mean, she just loved animals so much. I mean, you don’t find anybody any sweeter, kinder, nicer, and loving than Cati.”
The 21-year-old soon landed a job at Firehouse Subs while she was taking classes at Greenville Technical College. While working as a sandwich maker, she met a striking man who would frequent the shop, 28-year-old Army Staff Sergeant John Blauvelt. He worked right next door at the Army recruiting office and would always talk to Boytner. Her friends say she felt an instant connection to servicemen because of her family’s military connection, and she was attracted to Blauvelt.
Chyanne Paxton worked with Boytner and remembers when the relationship sparked. She shares, “Cati was my aunt. She was my mom’s younger sister. Cati and I were four years and a week apart. So, we were a little more like sisters instead of aunt and niece.” As for Blauvelt, Paxton says, “He would come in there to get his lunches. When I first met John, he was in the Army, so I figured he must be a pretty nice guy.”
He may have seemed nice, and had 10 years of active service in the military, but Blauvelt was allegedly a two-timer. Boytner and Paxton found out he was still married and living nearby with his wife and young daughter. “He had just told us that he and his wife were having issues and that they were planning to separate,” Paxon recalls.
Priver remembers, “At first, she didn’t even tell us she was seeing John. Being in the service in the Army, it was frowned upon if you were married.”
RELATIONSHIP MOVES RAPIDLY
But the ring on Blauvelt’s finger didn’t stop him from moving his relationship with his new girlfriend forward. He made big promises and seemed to be focused on winning Boytner over.
“When Cati first told me that she thought she loved John, I told her that maybe she was taking it a bit too fast and that she should wait until he was separated from his wife and wait to see how things went then. But Cati seemed very happy with him, she definitely seemed very attracted to him,” Paxton says.
Blauvelt and his wife did eventually divorce, and only seven months after meeting he and Boytner met, they moved in together.
“I wasn’t impressed with him when I first met him. Being raised with a military father, I kind of had an idea of what it was like to be around military personnel and how polite and courteous they were… John was not like this. He just didn’t seem like a military man to me, and I thought that was odd,” Priver adds.
No one in Boytner’s circle was excited for their relationship to move the next level, especially her mom. “I thought they would date longer, really get to know each other more. But then, I got a text from Cati, I don’t remember what we were talking about, then out of the blue in the middle of the text she said, ‘Oh by the way, me and John eloped today.’ … I said, ‘You’re serious?’… She said, ‘Yeah,’” Priver remembers. She also believed it was a bad omen to be married on Pearl Harbor Day, but Boytner wasn’t fazed.
The news of the marriage was troubling to Paxton, who says, “Me and Cati had always planned when one of us got married that it would be something we did together. You know, she was going to be my maid of honor, I would be hers. So, it was really surprising to me that she didn’t want any of her family there.” What was even more of a shock was when the couple moved into a four-bedroom home, but not with children in mind. Instead, Blauvelt wanted to fill it with roommates, specifically high-school and college-aged kids.
Paxton tells In Pursuit she was even invited by Blauvelt to share a room. “The agreement was that I would stay with them, and I had a little rent that I was supposed to pay them. John worked in the day, and I was at school during the day. And then Cati worked in the nighttime, so the only time that we were really there together was weekends and stuff,” Paxton remembers.
Because she was living in their environment, she could see the relationship was anything far from perfect. She recalls one specific instance, “One time I heard them outside screaming, so I went out there to see what was going on. And she was just telling him like, ‘Leave me alone. Go away. I don’t want to be around you right now.’” Paxton says she jumped in the middle of the chaos and had to talk them both down before a neighbor called the police.
Priver says Blauvelt had an alcohol problem and he had threatened her daughter in the past. “I knew one time that John had gotten very drunk and was threatening her. He would eventually sleep it off and the next day, things would sort of be better, but it just kept on.”
THE BLAUVELT PARTY HOUSE
Although Blauvelt was pushing 30, he was known around town to host local high school students to party. “Cati kept telling him to quit doing it, that it was illegal, and he wouldn’t listen to her. He told her to shut up, mind her own business, he was going to do what he wanted,” Priver adds.
Because of the reported booze and drinks provided to the underage students, some of the kid’s parents reported him to the school. One night, according to police, they responded to his house to check out the tip. When they arrived, they observed the home full of underage teens.
Paxton, who was home at the time, remembers the night clearly, “When the cops showed up, John told us not to answer the door. He said that they had no right. And he pretty much just told us to stay inside with the door locked. More cops came until the whole street was lined with cops. And they were walking around the house and trying to find different ways to get in. And it was just like a crazy situation.”
Soon enough, authorities got a search warrant. Blauvelt was arrested on the spot for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. While he was being held, police say they called Boytner in to figure out what exactly had been going on at the house. That’s when she revealed much more. She confided in police and told them her husband had pointed a .357 revolver at her and threatened to kill her.
Simpsonville Police Investigator Keith Morecraft tells In Pursuit, “After that, John then turned the gun on himself, threatening to commit suicide. He ended up taking another firearm from the house and told her he would kill anyone that she knew and fled the residence.” With that claim, police were able to tack on a domestic violence charge as well.
ENDING THE MARRIAGE
This was the end of Boytner’s relationship with Blauvelt. They separated, and she moved back home with her mom. Paxton also left the house they all shared. Soon Boytner learned that one of Paxton’s 17-year-old friends, named Hannah Thompson, had become Blauvelt’s girlfriend.
Paxton remembers, “Hannah was completely infatuated with him. She stopped talking to her family. She stopped talking to her friends. And she just kind of acted entitled, like, as if being with him made her special.”
Her husband’s newfound relationship didn’t stop Boytner from putting her life back together and rebuilding her relationships with her family and friends. “She was finally going to file for divorce. She was finally breaking free of him totally,” Priver reveals.
On October 24, 2016, Boytner was getting off from her new job at a pet store when she got a call from Paxton asking if she wanted to meet for dinner. Boytner told her that she was “just driving around,” but could meet her in a while. Paxton thought she sounded “strange.” And after a few hours, Boytner still hadn’t shown up. “We kept texting and calling her all through the night, and I think I even rode past John’s just to see if maybe she’d gone down there, but I didn’t see her car there," Paxton remembers.
By the next morning, police say Priver was at the station filing a formal police report. All of her loved ones were out searching for Boytner when two friends made a horrifying discovery. Her dead body was found in the basement of an abandoned house where they all use to party. “We could tell that there had been some type of struggle prior to her death. Her cause of death was a knife wound to the neck,” Morecraft says.
When he was called to the scene, he said he had an eerie feeling. “The basement was very damp, and the wooden stairs go down and very steep and narrow and very rickety.”
Morecraft had to call Blauvelt to make him aware of the situation, since technically he was her next of kin. “John was very unemotional when he was notified of her death. He was very stoic and just talked about how bad the relationship had been. It immediately made the hair in the back of my neck stand up, because you could tell this wasn’t somebody that was upset she had been killed," he adds.
“That was the worst day of my life. Cati did not deserve that. Cati was so sweet, so kind and generous,” Priver remembers.
POLICE CONFRONT BLAUVELT
Back at the police station, investigators set their sights on Blauvelt. Morecraft says, “One theory is that Cati was killed because of the upcoming domestic violence case. If John was found guilty, number one, he could lose his liberty. Also, he would definitely lose his job with the United States Army.” He thinks it’s possible Blauvelt tracked down Boytner to try and talk her out of pressing charges.
By November 18, 2016, an official warrant was out for Blauvelt’s arrest, and he didn’t waste any time running. Investigators believe he and Thompson fled together.
The U.S. Marshals joined the search to find Blauvelt. They say they found traces of him and Thompson in Alabama; Killeen, Texas; and California. It wasn’t until two months later, when Thompson finally reached out for help. Authorities say she called her mom and dad from Eugene, Oregon, to say she was ready to come home. Blauvelt was not with Hannah at the time. Investigators later learned he abandoned her one night while they were sleeping. Both had been homeless while staying in Oregon.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Will Cook tells In Pursuit, “Based on John’s training with the military, we do view John as a danger to the community. He’s comfortable being uncomfortable.”
“John needs to be caught before he destroys another life, takes another life, destroys another family. I’ll never get to hear her say, ‘I love you mom. I miss you, mom,” Priver adds.
Blauvelt is officially considered AWOL from the United States Army. He is dangerous, so do not approach him.
TRAITS & CHARACTERISTICS:
- Weight: 185 pounds
- Height: 5 feet 6 inches
- Sex: Male
- Race: Caucasian
- Hair: Brown
- Eyes: Brown
- Date of birth: September 8, 1988
- Current age: 30
- Tattoos: Pirate and banner with a rose and sunset on right arm; Ying Yang symbol on left forearm; parrot on right side of chest; “Madison” on left wrist
- Last seen: Portland, OR
- Aliases used: Blue Blauvelt, John Bluefields, Vincent Mendoza, and Victor Sacceti
- He is also known to meet women online
If you know anything about this case or where to find Blauvelt, please contact our hotline (833-3-PURSUE) or submit a tip online.
For more on this case, watch the “Savage Soldier” episode of In Pursuit With John Walsh on Wednesday, March 13 at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery! Or catch up on ID GO.